In collaboration with Keck School of Medicine

Can Dietary Changes Help with Endometriosis Pain?

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For the women who experience endometriosis, they know all too well how painful it can be. The chronic pain brought on by the condition can be life-impacting. As researchers continue to look for ways to help bring pain relief to those who suffer from the disease, they are looking at dietary changes.

The researchers set out to determine if making dietary changes would help reduce the pain that women with endometriosis experience. They conducted a systematic review, including six studies out of the 2,185 they found that contained information regarding diet and endometriosis. Their criteria for selecting the studies had to include women of reproductive age who have confirmed cases of endometriosis. The study showed an interaction of any type from the dietary change.

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The results of their review are published in the April 2022 issue of the European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology [1]. In reviewing the six studies that met the study criteria, each of them had a positive impact on pain perception in women with endometriosis, with all but one of them reporting a significant reduction in pain perception.

The studies reviewed were found to support the idea that diet has a positive impact on endometriosis pain perception. They found that the research indicates that diets that are focused on being high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, gluten-free, and low nickel diets may be able to help women who have endometriosis. The women in the studies experienced an improvement in the amount of pain they experienced once dietary changes were made.

According to the World Health Organization, endometriosis affects 190 million women and girls around the world [2]. The disease, which involves the lining of the uterus growing outside of the uterus, can lead to infertility and chronic pain. Endometriosis can also cause pain during urination, bowel movements, sexual intercourse, and more. It can also increase one’s risk of depression and anxiety.

Women who suffer from pain from endometriosis may want to discuss dietary changes with their doctor. Exploring different dietary changes may lead to a reduction in pain. Considering the research, it’s a good idea to start by learning more about diets that are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, those that are gluten-free, and those that are focused on low nickel content. Trying the various diets for some time may be the best way to see if they bring pain relief.

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  1. European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology. Impact on diet on pain perception in women with endometriosis. April 2022.
  2. World Health Organization. Endometriosis.

This article was originally published on Confronting Chronic Pain by Dr. Steven Richeimer, Director Pain Medicine Master and Certificate.

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